ほど (hodo) Meaning Japanese Grammar - To the Point That

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'ほど (hodo) Meaning Japanese Grammar - To the Point That'

Sandro Maglione

ほど (hodo) Meaning Japanese Grammar - To the Point That

The noun ほど (hodo) means so much that, to such a point that, up to the point that, and in general any expression having to do with the limit, quantity, or the extension of something.

ほど is used in different expressions that take on various meanings depending on the context. Some of these expressions are:

  • ば~ほど
  • ほど~ない
  • にもほどがある

In this post, we learn more about the meaning of ほど, how it is formed, and when ほど is used through real example sentences.

How ほど is formed

ほど follows any verb, adjective, or noun without variation. When ほど is attached to an adjective in な, you need to add な between the adjective and ほど:


ほど comes from the kanji 程, which means extent, limit, degree, or amount

How and when to use ほど

In its basic meaning ほど is used to indicate a maximum (or minimum) limit or extent that has been reached.

For this reason, ほど is often translated as so much that, to such an extent that. This translation aims to highlight the idea of limit.

ほど cannot be used when the "limit" has actually been exceeded.

Let's see an example to understand this meaning of ほど:


Are you that weak?

In this example, ほど is used after それ: それほど, which translates as up to that point. The sentence then uses the adjective (よわ)weak. All together the phrase highlights a limit or degree of weakness: weak up to that point.

Unlike くらい, ほど can also be used when the sentence is conjugated in the negative.


It's not something that makes me angry.

Literally this example sentence can be interpreted as it is not a thing to such an extent that it is necessary to get angry.


It's not an injury serious enough to worry about.

ほど to indicate an extreme limit

In some sentences ほど is used to indicate an extreme limit. In these cases ほど translates as there is no one like..., there is nothing that....


There is no country more beautiful than Switzerland.

In these cases ほど indicates that there is nothing that reaches a point where it can be compared with what is mentioned.

ほど to indicate a quantity

When ほど follows a measure of quantity it indicates an approximation of the specified quantity: it translates as about, more or less, approximately.

In this sense, ほど is synonymous with くらい and ぐらい.


Let's see a simple example:


9 years (of time).


About 9 years (of time).

In this example ほど follows the noun 9(ねん)(かん) to indicate that the amount is around, more or less, around 9 years.

ほど~ない: not like that

When ほど is used in a sentence conjugated in the negative form (ない) its meaning becomes not so...that, it does not go so far that..., it is not so much that....


Today is not as cold as yesterday.

The example compares the cold ((さむ)い) of today (今日(きょう)) and that of yesterday (昨日(きのう)). The sentence is conjugated in the negative to indicate that today is not as cold as (ほど) yesterday.

It is also possible to compare two levels, stating that (A) doesn't do something as much as (B):


You don't study as much as me.

にもほどがある: there is a limit to how much

One particular expression that uses ほど is にもほどがある. This expression consists of:

  • Particle に: to indicate a "direction" (in this (there is a limit))
  • Particle も: indicates also, also in this
  • ほど
  • がある: expression that translates as there is, there are

にもほどがある therefore translates as there is a limit to how much..., here too there is a limit. にもほどがある is used when you have reached the maximum allowed limit to perform a certain action.


There's a limit to how stupid it can be.

Another expression ほどほど (程々, 程ほど, 程程) is used instead when the quantity is moderate, in the right amount.

Examples of ほど


The exam wasn't as difficult as I thought.


He'll be here in about 10 minutes.


It's not so cold outside.